I was going through the dinner food line at my Grandparents house. All the cousins, aunts and uncles were there, so a pretty long line. Each stop in the line fills your plate more and more and it all looks great. I got to the mashed potatoes and gravy and took a pretty good size scoop. When I got to the kids table, I sat down and went straight for the “potatoes”. Unfortunately, they were not potatoes but mashed turnips. Yuck! From then on, I would tell people, there is nothing I won’t eat but turnips. Double Yuck!
All these years later, I still hadn’t ever eaten turnips. It’s funny, in retrospect, it wasn’t that I didn’t like turnips. It was the shock of getting them mashed, when I was expecting potatoes. Even when we got turnips in our CSA, we just gave them away (my wife doesn’t care for them either).
So, we got stuck with the turnips a week back and couldn’t give them away. After 30 years (give or take) I decided I’d give them a try again. I hit up Google and found a number of interesting recipes. The one I settled on was from a favorite Chef, Vivian Howard (a fellow North Carolinian). Here is a PDF of her recipe “Berkshire Pork, Turnip and Sweet Potato Stew“. I did my usually modifications to give it my own little spin, but WOW and Double Yum! With the weather getting cooler and it being turnips and sweet potato season, I highly recommend this one. We’ll be making it again. My wife even loved it.
The stew was surprisingly light. I left the herbs in whole and picked the stems (all the leaves just fall off during the braise) and bay out. The gremolata added a citrus punch and herbaceousness.
- 1 ½ pounds pork Boston butt
- 2-3 tbsp flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bunch turnips (diced) with greens
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 2 carrots, cubed
- 2 celery stocks, diced
- ½ a large onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-4 cups low sodium beef stock
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 sugar cubes (1 tbsp brown sugar)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Ingredients for Gremolata
- Zest of one lemon
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- Heat a Dutch oven to medium high and add oil. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper, dust with the flour and brown on all sides. Remove the pork and set aside.
Add the onions, celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables until softened and add the garlic. Cook another minute or two and add tomato paste. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce the heat to simmer and add the pork back to the pot. Add the stock until the pork is covered (use water if needed). Add sugar, bay, rosemary and thyme and cover with lid. Allow to simmer for 1 ½ hours.
- Add turnips and cook for 5 minutes. Add sweet potato and cook for another 5 minutes until the potatoes are barely tender. Add the turnip greens and allow to wilt a bit.
- For the gremolata, just add the lemon zest, minced garlic and parsley together and toss to combine.
- To plate, add a serving to a big bowl and garnish with the gremolata. Enjoy!